Photographs and captions created by adolescents and their family members in Nepal Bangladesh allowed for Tipping Point to evaluate how its programs helped empower girls, change gendered social norms, and contribute to an end of child, early, and forced marriage (CEFM). The results of Photovoice demonstrated that restrictive norms had loosened, adolescents girls had increased knowledge of sexual and reproductive health, parents had better relationships with their children, and some child marriages had been averted.
Photovoice was used as part of the monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) approach for Phase 1 of Tipping Point. builds on developmental evaluation and feminist evaluation principles – which, together, facilitate innovation and prioritize learning.
Photovoice is an effective participatory research and evaluation method that provides a greater depth of understanding of how a program has impacted the lives of its participants. When completed as part of a larger evaluation, it provides a rich context to enhance the data that emerges from the other collection methods. Because it is participatory in nature and topics can be driven by the participant, new insights also have the potential to be uncovered.
With Photovoice, participants are taught basic photography and asked to document aspects of their lives through guided assignments. Participants then return to the group to select and discuss the images they took. Through this process, a safe space is created whereby participants identify, discuss, and address issues that are important to them. The Photovoice method allows stories of how the participants have experienced change in a way that other qualitative methods cannot, and it can provide rich and moving quotes and images that speak to non-technical audiences in a powerful way.
The Photovoice evaluation component was designed as an intensive week long exercise. In Nepal, participants included adolescent girls and boys, while in Bangladesh, we worked with adolescent girls and mothers.
Participants met at the beginning of the week to learn about the Photovoice method, basic photography and ethics of photographing people. During the initial workshop and training, the participants were asked to share their lives through an open-ended photo documentation assignment. The goal was to have the participants explore the topic and identify what was important to them, without influence or bias from others.
Participants were encouraged to capture any changes, both good and bad, regardless of whether they were specifically related to the Tipping Point project. This gave the participants an opportunity to explore the topic and to be able to determine what is important to them, while keeping the net wide enough to catch any surprising insights.
At the end of the week, the participants came together again to discuss the images they took and present their work. Individual and group discussions were also utilized to gather elaborations from participants about their pictures. By analyzing what the participants choose to photograph we were able understand more about their level of awareness on some of critical issues such as rights, confidence, aspirations and ability to negotiate within their families for rights and equality.
“Check out the video below of one of the Photovoice participants sharing how it felt to be part of this process”
To learn more about the detailed process and findings from each country see the Photovoice reports here.